identify specialist services relating to communication technology and aids
Communication Aids are anything that help a person to communicate with others. It could be paper based, like a letter board or it could be an electronic device, these are known as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices. [ Many AAC devices are symbol based, and some are text based.
Some people use Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCA) these tend to be higher cost specialist
devices dedicated to communication which may have no computer functions available. They can include the Lightwriter, the Jive, Say-it-Sam, the M3, the Springboard Lite, Vantage Lite and Vanguard etc. AbilityNet do not advise on VOCA?s, but would strongly recommend contacting an appropriate organisation or supplier for an assessment, please see details at end of this factsheet.
The success of any communication aid relies on the user, the family, school and speech and language service working together. Choosing an aid needs to involve the person who uses it and those who will support it; otherwise it can just end up confusing and frustrating the person trying to communicate.
AbilityNet will advise on the use of simple static communication devices up to 8 cells as well as on computers, PDAs and mobile phones running communication software. We may be able to offer an assessment and loan equipment for people wanting to try these devices. We would recommend that the family, school, speech and language therapist be present at any assessment.
Our main concern is to make sure that an individual has the right device to meet their needs. However, getting the correct equipment with the correct software, mounted in the correct place, controlled with a suitable method, will rarely be more than 40% of a solution. The rest, and in our opinion, the most important part of any given solution, is the personalisation, training, and ongoing support required to enable the user to deliver the conversation they require. ]
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